Set your alarm for ultimate optimism – a survey by US mattress company Amerisleep found that people who are ‘perfectly happy’ get a very precise amount of sleep each night.
Their study of 2000 people suggests that seven hours and six minutes is the magic amount. Those who slept seven hours were found to be ‘mostly happy’ while people who snoozed for six hours and 48 minutes were ‘somewhat happy’.
'Less than 6 hours 48 minutes hours of sleep meant complete unhappiness in relationships, constant worry, and never a shred of gratitude,' the report states.
However Professor Dorothy Bruck, Chair of the Sleep Health Foundation, disputes those claims.
“That’s like saying people who have cats sleep a certain amount of time,” Bruck says.
“It’s a ridiculous thing to say because sleep requirements vary lot from person to person, we know there is a lot of individual variability which can change over a lifetime as well.”
Research shows that adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, but Bruck says that 24% of Australians report that they regularly don’t achieve this.
Bruck says that a lack of sleep can affect many different areas of functioning including concentration, productivity and emotional stability, with increasing evidence that sleep deprivation can also negatively affect your immune system and glucose metabolism.
Further, she says that these kinds of arbitrary statistics can do more more harm than good when it comes to encouraging sleep.
“Overall it’s a negative thing, people then think it’s the benchmark that they have to achieve and we know that one of the things that make people sleep worse is to put a performance element on it,” Bruck says.
“Sleep doesn’t respond well to those sorts of pressure it just increases sleep anxiety. Lots of people's poor sleep is due to anxiety around poor sleep so it’s very counterproductive.”
So the take home message? Take sleep suggestions with a grain of salt and find what works best for you.